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Comprehension Strategies and How they Work

About Comprehension

Text comprehension can be improved by instruction that helps readers use specific comprehension strategies (National Institute for Literacy,2001).

According to the 2000 report of the National Reading Panel, the eight types of instruction that appear to be effective and most promising for classroom

instruction are:

Comprehension monitoring

Cooperative learning

Graphic and semantic organizers

Story structure

• Question answering

• Question generation


Multiple-strategy teaching

Assessment of Comprehension

The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) measures a student’s comprehension skills in the following areas:

Words in context

Main idea and details

Order of events

Author’s purpose

Fact and opinion

Cause and effect


Story’s plot

Information from research

Comprehension Strategies                   How They Work

Analyze Text Structure and Organization                                                            

Determine the text structure to better understand what the author is saying and to use research when text must be analyzed.


Compare and Contrast

Find ways that two things are alike and different



Draw Conclusion    

Determine what the author is suggesting without directly stating it. Conclusions are made during and after reading.  Conclusions are made from 3 or more places within the text.

Your conclusions will all vary, but they must be drawn from evidence in the text.


Evaluate Author's Purpose

Determine why the author wrote the passage or used certain information.  A book can have more than one purpose.

Purposes include to:

  • ·         Entertain
  • ·         Inform
  • ·         Persuade

Evaluate Author's Point of View and Perspective

Determine what the paragraph, page or chapter is mostly about. Sometimes the main idea is;

  •   Stated and sometimes
  •  It is implied.

Students must choose details that support the main idea; not just any idea.


Identify Cause and effect


  • Things that happened (effect) and
  •  Why they happened (cause)

Text may contain multiple causes and effect.


Identify Main Idea and Supporting Details

Determine what the passage is mostly about. Sometimes :

  • ·         The main idea is stated and
  • ·          Sometimes it is implied.

Students must choose details that support the main idea; not just any details.

Identify Sequence and Events
Determine order of events for topics such as history, science or biography.

Identify Steps in a Process

Determine the order for making or doing something.


Make Inferences

Determine what the author is suggesting when he does not directly state it. Inferences are usually made from one or two places in the text. Student inferences will vary but,

Inferences must be made from:

  •     Evidence in the text and
  •    Background knowledge                                                                                                                         


Make Predictions

Determine what may happen next in a story. Predictions are based on information presented in the text.

 Summarize  Take key ideas from the text and put them together to create a shorter version of the original text. Summaries should have few if any details.

Use Graphic Features to Interpret Information

Use clues from graphic features such as:

  •       Maps
  •       Charts
  •       Graphs

To determine what is not stated in the text or to enhance meaning.


Use Text Features to Locate Information

Use text features such as:

  •         Bullets
  •         Captions
  •         Glossary
  •        Index
  •         Sidebars
To enhance meaning.

Using Leveled Texts to Differentiate Instruction: By Tammy Jones and Annyce Kuykendall


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